Do Herbalife Meal Replacement Drinks Aid Weight Loss? Pros And Cons

Written by Priyanka Sadhukhan , Nutritionist, CDE, Reviewer & Writer

Trying to lose weight quickly comes with its pros and cons. Herbalife manufactures many quick weight-loss products that have gained some serious fame in recent times. This multi-level marketing company manufactures meal replacement shakes that claim to help people lose weight and make them look and feel good about themselves. This article discusses the pros and cons of Herbalife meal replacement shakes. Keep scrolling to find out more.

Pros Of Herbalife Products For Weight Loss

  • Herbalife weight loss products are set to offer healthier lifestyles. Their weight loss programs are very simple to follow, and they offer a variety of meal replacements and shakes to provide every individual’s taste.
  • The supplements, shakes, snacks and protein bars are easy to take.
  • The careful monitoring of fat and calorie intake helps you to eat good and live healthy.
  • Herbalife products are soy-based. Soy-based meal replacement products, in combination with lifestyle changes, have been found to aid weight loss and show improvement in body composition parameters of individuals with obesity (1), (2).
  • Soy protein is one of the major ingredients of Herbalife meal replacement shakes (3). It is said to improve cardiovascular health, though more studies are required to prove the same (4).

Cons Of Herbalife Products For Weight Loss

Herbalife products have quite a number of cons.

  • The products can be quite expensive compared to other weight loss products available in the market with the same effect.
  • As per WHO recommendations, only 5 % of the total calories you consume should come from sugar (5). However, Herbalife meal replacement shakes are high in sugar and exceed this limit.
  • Herbalife produces healthy protein shakes and bars, special supplements, and snacks to change your unhealthy eating habits. However, there is no proof so far that these products have any positive effect on your health.
  • There has also been evidence in the past that the weight loss supplements made by Herbalife contained some dangerous ingredients.
  • Most Herbalife products contain these three ingredients that pose some risks to your health:
  • Caffeine: Some Herbalife weight loss products contain caffeine as it boosts metabolism (3). But, caffeine has numerous harmful effects. It increases blood pressure significantly (6). A fluid ounce of coffee contains about 63 mg of caffeine (7). On the other hand, Herbalife teas, tablets, and supplements contain more caffeine per serving. These products can also be dangerous for anyone who is allergic to caffeine. Therefore, it is advisable to check the product label for the ingredients.
  • Protein or Soy: Protein shakes and protein drinks are important when it comes to losing weight. Herbalife products contain phytoestrogen (plant-derived estrogen) that has an impact on sexual health and behavior (8). Moreover, some people are allergic to high doses of protein concentrates.
  • Shellfish: According to Herbalife, many of their weight loss products contain shellfish. Shellfish include oysters, mussels, crabs, and lobsters. If you are allergic to any of these, check the ingredients list before ordering any product.
  • Many case studies have reported that taking Herbalife supplements can be dangerous for the liver (9), (10)
  • Reports of Herbalife products being contaminated with the bacterium Bacillus subtilis where the patients suffered from liver injury (11).
  • These products act as appetite suppressants by killing your hunger and curbing your natural hunger-satiety cycle. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

If you are pregnant or lactating, consider seeking your doctor’s advice before starting any type of weight loss program. These weight loss drinks and capsules advertised on television and online never warn you about the harm they may cause to your health. So, it should be your decision if you would like to adopt “unhealthy” means or healthy food and exercise to cut down the excess flab.

Weight Loss With Herbalife – How Effective Is It?

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. It kickstarts your metabolism and keeps you full till lunch. But, many breakfast meals do not contain enough carbohydrates and proteins.

The Herbalife Formula 1 Shake contains a balanced combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins that equals a healthy meal. It kickstarts your metabolism without the intake of unnecessary foods. However, the calories per serving of this shake are not sufficient to meet the daily requirement. This low-calorie/high-protein shake helps you shed some weight, and drinking a liter of water along with it helps release toxins by increasing your urinary output. But, do not dependent on herbal supplements too much because once you stop taking them, you may gain back all the lost weight.


Although Herbalife products are effective for quick weight loss, this weight loss is not sustainable. Its long-term health benefits have not been proven, and many case studies suggest that they are harmful to the liver. So, it is advisable to speak to your doctor before starting these weight loss supplements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Herbalife vegan?

It varies. Some Herbalife meal replacement shakes contain milk while others don’t.

Do Herbalife products contain lead?

As per the nutritional labels on the products, Herbalife products do not contain any lead.

Is Herbalife FDA-approved?

Dietary supplements do not need approval from the FDA before being sold. However, Herbalife follows all the FDA guidelines while manufacturing its products.


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Priyanka is a nutritionist and a Certified Diabetes Educator. She has over 8 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics with a strong research background. She is passionate about science and how it can be applied to one’s daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine, and proper nutrition is key to achieving good health. She has also written a book on PCOS and its management for doctors and patients. When she is not working, she loves spending quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and endorses healthier alternatives to junk foods to promote good health.